Com­mu­nity nam­ing rights a man’s do­main


The names of our com­mu­ni­ties are im­por­tant; we of­ten iden­tify our­selves by say­ing “I am from Bri­gus,” or wher­ever we call home. But where do we get these names?

Some, ob­vi­ously, are sim­ply geo­graphic or nat­u­ral fea­tures. There are scores of ex­am­ples — the Round Har­bours, the Seal Coves and the Bear Coves and so forth.

But an as­ton­ish­ing num­ber of the set­tle­ments scat­tered around New­found­land and along the coast of Labrador bear the names of in­di­vid­u­als; men who were prom­i­nent in their time or have other­wise made a mark in his­tory. Here’s a list of some of them. • Blake­town — This Trin­ity Bay com­mu­nity was given the name of Sir Henry Arthur Blake in 1888, dur­ing his brief term (1887-89) as Gov­er­nor of New­found­land.

• Port Bland­ford — Cap­tain Dar­ius Bland­ford, a noted seal­ing cap­tain from Green­spond, Bon­av­ista Bay, lent his name to this com­mu­nity, which be­came the rail­head ter­mi­nal for that Bay.

• Bot­wood — Archdea­con Ed­ward Bot­wood, a Church of Eng­land pri­est worked in cen­tral New­found­land in the 1860’s, be­fore he be­came Rec­tor of S t . Mar y ’ s Church, in St. John’s, where he served un­til his death in 1901.

• Buchans — In 1810, David Buchan, a Royal Navy of­fi­cer, led an ex­pe­di­tion up the Ex­ploits River to tr y to make con­tact with the Beothuck. Buchans and Buchans Junc­tion re­call his ef­forts. Michael Crum­mey’s River Thieves is a mas­terly retelling of the tragedy that marred the ex­pe­di­tion.

• Calvert — This South­ern Shore com­mu­nity per­pet­u­ates the mem­ory of Sir Ge­orge Calvert, later Lord Bal­ti­more, the man who founded the Colony of Avalon in 1621.

• Cam­bell­ton — John Camp­bell man­aged a large sawmill in this Notre Dame Bay com­mu­nity be­tween 1901 and 1911.

• Cartwright — Ge­orge Cartwright, a Bri­tish army of­fi­cer, ran a trad­ing busi­ness in South­ern Labrador be­tween 1770 and 1786. His Jour­nal of Trans­ac­tions and Events, Dur­ing a Res­i­dence of Nearly Six­teen Years on the Coast of Labrador, is one of the clas­sic works of our his­tory. He founded the com­mu­nity in 1775.

• Cavendish — Orig­i­nally known as Shoal Bay, Cavendish was re­named in 1904, at the end of Sir Cavendish Boyle’s term as Gov­er­nor. Boyle is re­mem­bered to­day as the au­thor of The Ode to New­found­land.

• Cook’s Har­bour — James Cook, the famed Bri­tish hy­dro­g­ra­pher and ex­plorer, gave his own name to Cook’s Har­bour when he sur­veyed the north­ern part of the Great North­ern Penin­sula in 1763 and 1764.

• Curl­ing — Joseph Curl­ing, an of­fi­cer in the Royal En­gi­neers, be­came a Church of Eng­land pri­est and came to New­found­land, where he worked in­ter­mit­tently un­til shortly be­fore his death. Birchy Cove, in Bay of Is­lands, was named in his hon­our in 1904, to mark his 13 years of min­istry on the west coast.

• Dun­field — Two small com­mu­ni­ties in Trin­ity Bay were re­named, in 1911, as Dun­field, in mem­ory of Canon Henry Dun­field, a well-known Church of Eng­land cler­gy­man.

• Glover’s Har­bour and Glover­town — Sir John Glover, Gov­er­nor of New­found­land be­tween 18761881 and 1883-1885 (the only man to hold the of­fice twice) is to­day best-known as the man af­ter whom both these com­mu­ni­ties were named.

• Har­court — A small com­mu­nity in Smith’s Sound, in Trin­ity Bay, Har­court was orig­i­nally known as Sandy Point. In 1904, it was given the name of Sir Wil­liam Har­court, a Bri­tish politi­cian in the lat­ter years of the 19th cen­tury.

• Hawke’s Bay — James Cook named this North­ern Penin­sula com­mu­nity af­ter Ed­ward, Lord Hawke, Ad­mi­ral of the Fleet and first Sea Lord be­tween 1776 and 1771.

• Hor­wood — Sir Wil­liam Hor­wood served as Chief Jus­tice of New­found­land from 1902-44, the long­est term of any per­son to hold the post. Dog Bay, a lum­ber­ing com­mu­nity in Hamil­ton Sound on the north­east coast, was re­named in his hon­our in 1914.

• Howley — This in­land log­ging com­mu­nity in west­ern New­found­land com­mem­o­rates the work of James Pa­trick Howley, a New­found­land ge­ol­o­gist and sur­veyor who con­ducted ex­ten­sive min­eral ex­plo­rations in the area in the late 1800’s.

• Lewis­porte, Miller­town and Miller­town Junc­tion — These all re­call a Scot­tish tim­ber mer­chant who ran a large sawmilling op­er­a­tion in Cen­tral New­found­land at the start of the 20th cen­tury. Lewis Miller is the only man to have three com­mu­ni­ties named af­ter him.

Lums­den — Lo­cated on the Straight Shore in Bon­av­ista North, this town per­pet­u­ates the mem­ory of James Lums­den, a Methodist mis­sion­ary who preached in New­found­land be­tween 1881 and 1892.

• McCal­lum — first known as Bonne Bay, this com­mu­nity was re­named shortly af­ter the turn of the 20th cen­tury in hon­our of Henry McCal­lum, Gov­er­nor of New­found­land from 1898 to 1901.

• Morrisville — Lo­cated in Bay d’Espoir, and orig­i­nally known Lynch Cove, it adopted its present name in 1910, dur­ing Sir Ed­ward Morris’s term as Prime Min­is­ter of New­found­land.

• Mus­grave Har­bour and Mus­grave­town — Sir An­thony Mus­grave, Gov­er­nor from 1864-1869, left his name to these two towns.

• Mount Pearl — Sir James Pearl, a Bri­tish naval of­fi­cer, was granted 500 acres of Crown land lo­cated just west of St. John’s, in 1829. He built the home in which he lived un­til his death on the land, which sub­se­quently be­came part of the City of Mount Pearl.

• Pet­ley — This small com­mu­nity on the north side of Ran­dom Is­land in Smith’s Sound bears the name of Henry Pet­ley, an early Church of Eng­land mis­sion­ary in the area.

• Port Saun­ders — an­other of the com­mu­ni­ties named by James Cook, re­calls the ser­vice of Sir Charles Saun­ders, Com­modore of the Royal Navy’s New­found­land sta­tion in 1754.

• Rod­dick­ton — Sir Thomas Rod­dick­ton, born in Har­bour Grace and a long-time Dean of Medicine at McGill Univer­sity in Mon­treal, gave his name to this North­ern Penin­sula town.

• Whit­bourne — Sir Richard Whit­bourne is one of the great fig­ures in New­found­land’s early his­tory. He wrote sev­eral in­flu­en­tial books ex­tolling the new colony’s charms, and es­tab­lished the first court, at Trin­ity, in 1615.

• White­way — Lo­cated on the south shore of Trin­ity Bay, it was orig­i­nally known as Wit­less Bay (one of the two in New­found­land). It was re­named, early in the 20th cen­tury, in hon­our of Sir Wil­liam White­way, a 19th cen­tury New­found­land Prime Min­is­ter.

Doz e n s o f c o m m u n i t i e s through­out New­found­land and Labrador take their names from the fam­ily who first set­tled them, as op­posed to in­di­vid­ual men — and it is an his­tor­i­cal odd­ity that no com­mu­nity is graced by the name of a woman.

But no­body knows for cer­tain whether there was a Joe Batt, or why he went to live on Fogo Is­land, if there was.

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